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Hurricanes lose Raanta, can’t overcome horrid start in loss to Panthers

The Hurricanes dropped their first game of the year on Saturday night in Florida.

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at Florida Panthers Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Well, it was going to happen sometime.

The Carolina Hurricanes took a perfect 9-0 record to South Florida, and the Florida Panthers made sure that their former division rivals wouldn’t move onto Tampa with a double-digit winning streak to start their season.

Florida blitzed Carolina with a barrage of early goals and rode their hot start to a — win, becoming the first NHL team with ten wins in 2021-22.

Carolina’s penalty issues carried over from their game in Chicago in the early stages of their Saturday-night showdown.

Jaccob Slavin took a tripping penalty less than a minute into the game, accounting for his second minor penalty of the season, twice as many as he took all of last season.

With a key killer in the box, Florida took advantage of their power play and took an early 1-0 lead as Anthony Duclair crashed in and fired a wrist shot past a closing Ethan Bear and by Frederik Andersen.

Anthony DeAngelo got taken down by Gustav Forsling moments later, leading to the Hurricanes’ first power-play try, but that got cut short thanks to an Andrei Svechnikov tripping penalty in the offensive zone. Nothing came from the lengthy 4-on-4 sequence, nor the short Panthers power play.

Something did come from the third Hurricanes penalty of the first period, though.

Steven Lorentz got the gate for another offensive zone penalty, and the Cats improved to two-for-two on full-length power-play chances on the night.

Frank Vatrano launched a long-range one-timer through traffic and beat Andersen to extend the Florida lead to 2-0.

But wait, there’s more.

A turnover from Andersen on an attempted stretch pass to Teuvo Teravainen resulted in the Panthers regaining control of the puck and scoring their third goal of the period. Anton Lundell skated around a sleeping Canes defense and beat a sprawling Andersen on the blocker side.

But wait, there’s more.

DeAngelo got burned by Duclair, and while he got bailed out by Andersen’s pad, he did take a hooking penalty after he got beat on the play, giving the Panthers their fourth power play and third power-play goal of the period.

The Panthers sliced and diced the Hurricanes’ penalty killers, springing a series of tic-tac-toe passes that resulted in Patric Hornqvist standing all alone in front of Andersen and tapping in his first goal of the season to make it a whopping 4-0 game with 4:32 left in the first period.

Carolina did come back to generate a few good chances late in the period, but they couldn’t get anything by Spencer Knight.

The first period was, in a word, embarrassing for the Hurricanes and likely their worst frame of the season.

With Antti Raanta in the net, things looked a little bit better for Carolina in the second period. The fourth line was active and dangerous in the offensive zone, which fueled the rest of the lineup.

A few breakdowns and missed coverages continued to nag the, though, but Raanta made a handful of huge stops in the early minutes of his relief outing.

Those saves allowed the Hurricanes to get on the board and start to chip away at the 4-0 deficit. Slavin jumped deep into the Panthers’ zone, won a puck battle, and centered a pass to the stick of Jesper Fast. Fast’s fifth goal of the year made it a 4-1 game seven minutes into the middle frame.

Unfortunately, Raanta’s relief outing was short-lived. At 12:22 of the second period, the Finnish goalie went out to play a puck rolling in from the blue line and got ran over by Ryan Lomberg.

Lomberg was given a major penalty for charging, which was upheld after further review. He was ejected from the game, and Raanta was taken out, bringing Andersen back into the game after getting pulled at the end of the first period. The team later confirmed that Raanta would not return to the game due to an upper-body injury.

As a result of that incident, the Hurricanes got a five-minute power play and a chance to cut further into the deficit.

After a slow start, the Canes did manage to find the back of the net. DeAngelo fed the puck to Teravainen, whose shot deflected wide. Svechnikov retrieved the puck and centered it to a wide-open Vincent Trocheck, and the former Panther made it a 4-2 game.

Carolina failed to score again on that long man advantage and caught a break when a Forsling breakaway chance went wide of Andersen at the end of the power play.

Andersen was forced to make a couple of tough saves late in the period, and he kept the game at 4-2 going into the second intermission.

The Hurricanes looked fully on their game throughout the third period, particularly with their 5-on-5 game. They generated non-stop scoring chances, thank in large part to the likes of Slavin and Ethan Bear jumping into plays and creating offense.

A great read and pass from Bear forced Knight to make a big stop on Jordan Martinook, and Derek Stepan drew a slashing call in the process.

The Canes needed to make it happen on the power play, but they couldn’t do much. A bad turnover from DeAngelo was bailed out by Andersen on a partial breakaway, and he had to make another big save in the dying second of the power play.

A failed power play was quickly followed by a Jesperi Kotkaniemi holding penalty, but the Hurricanes managed to kill off their first two-minute penalty kill of the night, which set the stage for the final ten minutes of the third period.

Carolina flirted with another goal on multiple occasions, often by way of Sebastian Aho’s presence around the front of the net, but they failed to beat Knight, and the Panthers closed things out.

The Hurricanes finally have a loss on their resume in 2021-22. They will look to bounce back against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.